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Day 3 - The 2006 WPT Festa al Lago

Surprising Busts and Miracle Hands On Day 3; Joe Pelton Takes Chip Lead Going Into Final Two Tables

Day three marked the midway point of the 2006 WPT Festa al Lago. With only 64 players still in contention for the $1 million first-place cash prize, tournament officials planned for the Festa al Lago's "hump day" to end in one of two ways: after five levels of play or when the remaining field whittled down to the final 18 players.

The action began at noon PDT with $1,500-$3,000 blinds and $400 antes. Scott Fischman, who survived all of day two despite playing at a table that featured Chip Jett, Mike Matusow, Erik Seidel, Hasan Habib, and Thor Hansen, became the first high-profile elimination when he exited 30 minutes into tournament play. While not paying a huge sum, the finish drew recognition for being Fischman's first-ever cash in a World Poker Tour event.

Paychecks of $12,525 each also went to pros Ali Eslami, Alan Goehring, and Billy Baxter, who were among the 10 players eliminated during the day's first hour.

The fact that most of the early bustouts were short stacks made Alex Jacob's elimination an unexpected departure. Entering the day fifth in chips, Jacob lost a number of pots and his 2006 Festa al Lago campaign ended an hour-and-a-half into play when he moved all in with pocket queens and Joe Tehan, holding pocket aces, called.

A dramatic fall from the leader board soon became a common occurrence rather than an isolated incident. In the end, four of the previous day's top five chip leaders failed to survive the third leg of the Festa al Lago.

Day two chip boss Brandi Hawbaker doubled up Chris Loveland when she called Loveland's all in raise on a Kclub Qheart 10club 3diamond board. Hawbaker turned over top pair with the Aspade Kspade, but Loveland's Aclub Jheart gave him a pot-winning nut straight.

Sixty minutes later, and after several more losses, Hawbaker put her last $98,000 in preflop. Webber Kang called, and he made her the 35th-place finisher ($20,875) when his Aclub Kspade held against her Aheart Jclub.

Victor Ramdin, who brought the fifth largest chip stack into play, soon followed Hawbaker. He doubled up James Van Alstyne, but appeared to be in position to rebuild his stack when he entered into an all-in hand with Joe Pelton. Moving in with Aheart 10heart, Ramdin had the lead over Pelton's 10spade 9heart. The Qheart 9spade 9diamond 4spade 2diamond board, however, gave Pelton trip nines and Ramdin finished in 31st place ($20,875).

Pelton's luck continued with a hand that changed the complexion of day three. The action started when Pelton made a $26,000 preflop raise. Nick "The Takeover" Schulman reraised $85,000 and Pelton pushed all in. After an immediate call by Schulman, Pelton found himself in a huge hole with the Jheart 8heart against Schulman's Jdiamond Jspade. Despite being an 84 percent favorite, Schulman watched as the flop brought the Aheart 6heart 2heart. Pelton's flush held, making him chip boss and leaving Schulman with less than $30,000.

Twenty players remained when play moved into the fifth, and final, level of the day. Within 20 minutes, Mimi Tran became the last female player to exit the Festa al Lago when her set of eights fell to Chris Loveland's set of tens.

The win put Loveland, who started action with only $25,000, in second place on the leader board.

On the next hand, Loi Phan knocked out Joe Cordi in 19th place ($33,395) and day three play concluded.

The top five chip counts at the close of action were as follows:

1. Joe Pelton - $1,288,000
2. Chris Loveland - $1,122,000
3. Loi Phan - $799,000
4. Brandon Cantu - $770,000
5. Can Kim Hua - $695,000

Card Player Player of the Year front-runner Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi ended the day in eighth place ($378,000). Other notable pros who moved on to the next stage included "Captain" Tom Franklin (10th - $336,000), Joe Tehan (13th - $264,000), Danny Smith (14th - $227,000), and Carlos Mortensen (16th - $203,000).

Some big-name players who failed to advance were Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, James Van Alstyne, Chip Jett, Dan Harrington, Steve Zolotow, David Daneshgar, and Nick Schulman.

The field of 18 returns at noon PDT and will play down to the televised WPT final table.

Stay tuned to for live updates, chip counts, videos, photos, and for a new edition of "The Circuit."

Quote of the Day
: "I'm good at these" - David Danesghar on his natural ability to win race situations.



over 14 years ago

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